A few (longwinded) updates…

Really, there is only one update that anyone cares about: Where is Giles’ story?!

The simple, easy answer is: I haven’t written it yet. I started it with a bang, then I got hung up on the story, which was a huge blessing in disguise because by the time I was able to get back on it (recently) I realized it wasn’t going in the right direction and now it’s flowing again, but only when I have the time.

Shortly after I got “stalled” with the story, I had another blessing in disguise. Not only did taking a break from the story help it, but it helped my family–particularly my kids. My kids are nerds. Just like their mom. They like to read and are fascinated with both science and history. They can do math, but don’t love it like I do. I’ll forgive them this travesty though since I don’t care for studying birds the way they do. It’s an even trade, right? I know my kids are studious and like school so I was blindsided to get their report cards from last semester that showed they were anything but. To make a very long, drawn-out, frustrating story simple, between academic issues and behavioral shenanigans, we decided it might be best to change schools. At first we lingered between when do we switch (now? at the end of the year?) and where do we go? Another church school? The rural public school near us? It was a tough week and all signs were pointing more and more toward the one option that can put total fear in some of us mothers: homeschool.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. I do. I also know that I’m not mother-of-the year material. I might chaperone all the field trips (even the ones to the blasted skating rink and state fair), plan class parties, teach the kids’ Bible classes each week and VBS each year, but the idea of spending ALL DAY with kids–mine or anyone else’s–makes me feel faint. For the truth is, they terrify me. Silly, I know, but it’s true. So it was extremely shocking when the idea of me not only being at home with them all day, but actually having to teach them didn’t scare me. A year, or even just two months ago, I’d have said you were cracked that I was even considering the possibility. But suddenly it didn’t seem so daunting. In fact, for some strange reason, it seemed right. (I’ve told you all all along that I’m a little nuts, what can I say?) Anyway, it felt right. It felt right considering the circumstances and for the first time, the idea of spending all day with my kids in this type of a setting didn’t make the blood roar in my ears while my chest constricted and my stomach lurched.

It was a little over a month ago that I decided to pursue this headlong and it has brought many changes into the entire Gordon household, which now has an area called: Gordon School of Excellence. But all the changes and chaos  have been worth it. Here are just a few things that’ve been going on:

Every good schoolroom needs what? A white board? It’d be helpful. A computer? Maybe. A bookshelf full of books? Definitely a dream, but there’s always the library and eBooks. What about something more basic like a table? Bob and I are weird and we know it, but our first order of business was to build a table. Because my husband is entrenched in his own schoolwork, he designed it, gave me the measurements, taught me to use a saw and left saying, “Don’t cut off any of those valuable fingers.”  Below are just a few of the pictures of the progress.

Bob drawing out the lines to cut the plywood for the table top. (Fortunately, he DID use the circular saw for this and didn’t make me do it or I WOULD have lost a finger…or five.)
Cutting the legs using the “Man Saw”, yes, there’s another story behind the name of the saw. Anyway, it was like 12 degrees out in the garages I’m looking pretty frumpy to say the least.
Legs cut, sanded and glued in place. We left them held by clamps for 24 hours to help the glue adhere because of how cold it was. Then, used screws and L brackets for reinforcement.
Legs cut, sanded and glued in place. We left them held by clamps for 24 hours to help the glue adhere because of how cold it was. Then, used screws and L brackets for reinforcement.
This was the table top after we turned it back over and put a rim around the edge. It wasn't exactly even (the boarder) which meant a lot of sanding and planing. As you can see, Bob is inspecting my work… He soon told me to keep going, it needed more.
This was the table top after we turned it back over and put a rim around the edge. It wasn’t exactly even (the boarder) which meant a lot of sanding and planing. As you can see, Bob is inspecting my work… He soon told me to keep going, it needed more.
Edging is stained, top is painted and it’s in the “schoolroom”.

And yes, in case you’re wondering if the top is indeed what you think it is, here is your answer:

It might have been my overflowing affection for my husband for helping me with the final touches or the fact that I’d been trapped in an enclosed area with paint and stain for so many hours, but whatever it was, I felt the need to write “I *heart* my Mr. Gordon” in chalk on top of the chalkboard table.

Does any of this mean I’ll never finish Giles’ book or start another? Uh, no. Not even close. While it did take some time to sort out what was going on with my kids’ schooling and then a little adjustment period, we’ve all finally fallen into a routine. One that works for our family, meeting all of their needs, and allowing me to write. In fact, last week I wrote more in four afternoons than I had on any one book in the past year. It was craziness. When I first started writing four years ago my kids were three and four and I wrote between Hot Wheel races, Lego building, and  rounds of Candyland and oddly enough I was far more productive than I was when I had all day to write. When time isn’t in abundance, it changes things and the time allowed for writing becomes very valuable and half the time my fingers can barely keep up with the story unfolding in my head. It’s wonderful.

That said, I still stand by my original goal in January to put out three books this year and I still think it’s a very feasible goal for me.

In the meantime, I’ve begun testing out a type of writing I never imagined: lesson plans and curriculum. A possible new career path? Probably not, but I’ve learned to never say never.

Anyway, I write all of the above as a longwinded update and explanation. I’m still writing books and have every intention to keep writing them for as long as I’m still of sound mind and body, but I’m not yet far enough with Desires of a Baron to schedule an editing team or set a tentative release day. When I do, I’ll let ya know, but right now it’s looking to be sometime in late May.

Until then, because I know you’re all fascinated with my personal life I’ll post  a few random pictures snapped here at Gordon School of Excellence:

Patriotic cake for President’s Day.
Field trip to the World’s Largest Totem Pole (hey, we live out in the sticks, it was interesting to us).

And my favorite…


18 thoughts on “A few (longwinded) updates…”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I learned more homeschooling the boys than I did in school just because I was older and finally ready to learn 🙂

  2. Congrats on entering the world of homeschooling. I’ve never homeschooled anyone, but I was homeschooled for ten years, so I do have some experience where your boys are at least. I’ve never been in public school beyond the trade school I finished two months ago and one class at the local university. The rest was homeschool or private school. My favorite was being homeschooled. We were part of a homeschool group that had various activities they did together, such as a biweekly PE class (so we could play sports that required more than just the kids in our family), holiday activities, the occasional field trip (including one a year down south to Monterey to see the aquarium).

    Some of the parents that had a specialty of some sort taught classes that they invited more than just their kids to be part of. I was in a California History class and a Newspaper class in third or fourth grade and one of my friends (a year older than I am) taught an art class one time. There was also ELP (environmental living program) when I was in fourth or fifth grade that culminated in spending the day at John Muir House dressed in clothes similar to the early 1900s and involved in activities from that time from such as making butter, bricks (which involved mixing mud and straw with our bare feet and legs), a journal made out of newspaper pulp, and stuffing scarecrows. We also did some embroidery and picked fruit from the orchard. It was a lot of fun. I helped out a few years later and the Living History Day happened to occur on my birthday, so I got a surprise party, which was awesome.

    Hope you and your boys have a lot of fun homeschooling.

    1. I’m thrilled you had such a good experience with HS. I’ve heard stories that go both ways. I think there’s a lot of wonderful opportunities for learning that are missed in classroom with 25-35 children.

      We’re enjoying it so far. We shall see how it goes. Mama might lose her sanity. LOL

  3. I have three friends who homeschool their kids, and one of them actually works full time. It can be done, you just have to budget time. One word of advice. Make sure they have some time interacting with other children. I have a very legitimate reason for saying that. Remember…I have THREE friends who homeschool their kids. LOL

    Good luck with this endeavor. I know you can do it and get those books done, too. I’ve learned enough about you that I know you can do what you set your mind to do. 🙂

    1. I have about five or six friends who HS and for the longest time I kept my feelings to myself because, like you, I think kids need to be social. I’ve noticed, however, there has been a huge change in the kinds of kids who are HS’ed around here. It used to be all the really weird, antisocial kids. Now, there are so many groups and co-ops for socializing that it *shouldn’t* be a problem. But you never know… Just to be safe, we have other activities to help keep us social. (Or we’d all go insane. LOL)

  4. Wow! You brave brave lady! I have been researching and thinking and reading more books and talking about homeschooling all year and I just haven’t committed… I plan to use our summer break as an experiment and I hope to have a final decision before the fall. Please keep us all posted with how things are going for you and the Little Gordons! It sounds great!

    1. Well, I DO like to eat Ghost Pepper Salsa and go places without pajamas just to walk on the wild side and hope there’s a place where I can buy another set… LOL

      I NEVER, EVER imagined I’d be in this boat, but here I am and I have to tell you, it’s not as difficult as some people make it out to be. Sure, some days are just downright overwhelming, but I’m an organizer and I like things to go run smoothly. For the most part, they do, but I’ve also learned to be flexible and bend when necessary. It’s been a huge learning experience for me as well as my kids. On a side note though, my kids have just done AMAZING these past few weeks. Math that gave them trouble in school is no longer a problem. On our first day, I gave them a “grammar quiz” just to see exactly where they were. Oh dear. Neither of them knew what a noun or verb even was, let alone the difference or what a pronoun or adjective was. I seriously almost broke our new table by banging my head against it. Now? They’re pros. And they’re having fun. There are so many benefits.

      I will say though, it’s not for everyone, BUT since you’re more “crafty” and organized than I am, you’d probably do far better than I am.

  5. I have to check my spam because I know I should be getting notifications for this, but I’m not. I saw on FB you were homeschooling, and went over here to check it out. All this is good news, and good for your family. You’ll get the routine down and it will be so good. I loved spending time with my children and this just added to it. I know you will continue writing and it will all be a good thing. Congratulations on your decision. The tables are great. Good talent.

  6. Congratulations! That must have been a difficult decision to make, but I am sure that you will be brilliant! There are so many resources now, especially with the internet. I have many friends that are homeschooling their children. The table looks wonderful and power tools are great! 😀

    1. Lisa, it WAS a difficult decision. But, like you said, there are tons of resources and networks. Oh, and thank Goodness for power tools. I had to cut some of those boards by hand though. Oye.

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